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    Two Reasons Why US Serving as the World's Policeman is a Bad Idea

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    The United States might be occasionally tempted to don the uniform of a global policeman to ostensibly bring peace to the world, as former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen recently suggested, but Daniel L. Davis offered a convincing argument why Washington should refrain from sending its military to put out the fires in foreign lands.

    Davis' first reason is as follows: Imagine the NYPD is replaced by law enforcement officers from other countries who act according to laws approved outside of the US. Would New Yorkers be ok with it? Surely, not.

    "The inhabitants of any civil entity want to be governed and secured by laws of their choosing, protected by people culturally and linguistically like themselves, and to have a judiciary to prevent abuse of power by the police force," he noted.

    The world does not have this option if Washington is allowed to be the only arbiter.

    "If Americans would never, under any circumstances, submit to the laws and enforcers of another country on US soil, why should we expect the citizens of other nations to submit to being made to obey our interpretation of laws by means of armed US troops?" he asked.

    An Afghan policeman reacts as smoke billows during an attack near the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan January 13, 2016
    © REUTERS/ Parwiz
    An Afghan policeman reacts as smoke billows during an attack near the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan January 13, 2016

    Davis was apparently speaking from experience, since he is a retired US Army colonel who served multiple tours in Afghanistan.

    The analyst's second reason has to do with history. Even if the United States is guided by a genuine desire to help those in needs, its military interventions have failed to make life better. In fact, America's military adventures have created additional instability and exacerbated pre-existing tensions.

    "There have been a few occasions when a neutral outcome resulted, but far more often our deployments have greatly worsened the situation into which they were injected. None in recent decades have restored peace," Davis confirmed, citing Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as prime examples.

    True, prior to 2003, Iraq has been far from an exemplary democracy, but it was stable. In more than 13 years since the US' invasion, the country has been torn apart by sectarian violence on a scale unimaginable in Saddam Hussein's days. Moreover, Iraq is partly controlled by one of the most brutal groups the world has ever seen. Daesh has managed to capture large swathes of land in the country because it capitalized on the Sunni disenchantment with Shia leadership in Baghdad and the US.

    The same is true of Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries in Africa.

    People inspect a damaged site after airstrikes on the rebel held Sheikh Fares neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria October 1, 2016
    © REUTERS/ Abdalrhman Ismail
    People inspect a damaged site after airstrikes on the rebel held Sheikh Fares neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria October 1, 2016

    "In not one of the above cases where the United States has exercised its so-called 'moral obligation' to militarily intervene on behalf of the innocents in these lands have violence or war been resolved. To the contrary, all have worsened," Davis emphasized.

    Davis' remarks came in response to Rasmussen invoking morality with regard to the US serving as a global policeman in a recent opinion piece for the WSJ.

    "This is not simply about means. It is also about morality," the Danish politician said. "Just as only America has the material greatness to stop the slide into chaos, only America has the moral greatness to do it – not for the sake of power, but for the sake of peace."

    Recent history of the Greater Middle East and North Africa begs to differ with Rasmussen's assessment.

    "Our actual experience of performing the duty of the world's policeman has universally failed. American national security has not been served and the plight of the helpless has markedly deteriorated. Is it not time to acknowledge this unbroken string of failures and consider alternative policies? Viable alternatives exist, but none are possible until we admit decades of America-as-policeman have failed," Davis observed.

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    military deployment, military intervention, US troops, 2011 Libya military intervention, invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan War, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, United States, North Africa, Middle East
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